PIZZA AND FLAT­BREAD COOK­ING TIPS

EADT Suffolk - - Suffolk On A Plate -

Per­haps what dif­fer­en­ti­ates a pizza and a flat­bread is oven-bak­ing ver­sus dry-fry­ing on a hot, ridged char-grill or cast iron grid­dle pan.

Tomato-free: Much as I love tomato ragù, squash purée is a de­li­cious al­ter­na­tive. Or just use good mush­room ketchup, green or red pesto, or chick­pea hum­mus.

Quick bases: Im­promptu piz­zas can be made from In­dian naan, Greek pitta, the top and bot­tom lay­ers of a good French baguette (make sand­wiches from the mid­dle slice), or even char­grilled veg­eta­bles – think por­to­bello or flat cap mush­rooms, and thinly-sliced aubergine or cau­li­flower.

Cooked ver­sus raw: I am a fan of top­ping my piz­zas and flat­breads af­ter the base has been cooked, to keep the tex­tures and flavours of the gar­nishes. Equally I like the unique taste of the baked tomato ragù and toasted moz­zarella. So heaven for me is gild­ing my bub­bling mar­garita pizza, fresh from the oven, with shred­ded basil, Parme­san shav­ings, good oil and a few rib­bons of prosciutto ham, or slices of spicy fen­nel salami, be­fore drop­ping on dressed rocket leaves.

Oven-bak­ing: If bak­ing your pizza in a very hot oven (220°C+ fan for about 7 – 10 min­utes), try to source a pizza slab, or a slice of gran­ite, to fit your oven. This will give you sim­i­lar re­sults to an au­then­tic pizze­ria, with that clas­sic stone-baked tex­ture and un­mis­tak­able flavour.

Wood-fir­ing: Clay ovens in the gar­den are all the rage. If you scrape away the white em­bers af­ter it has warmed up, you can cook straight on the oven floor for about 3 – 4 min­utes. All be­ing well, you will have the best, smok­i­est pizza ever.

Pizza fritta: An al­ter­na­tive Ital­ian way of cook­ing pizza is to deep fry it, both cal­zone style and a plain base. It puffs up like a pop­padum and cre­ates per­haps the light­est, most de­li­cious pizza you’ll ever eat.

Macken­zie-David Events - to dis­cuss your cel­e­bra­tions con­tact Re­becca Macken­zie on 01986 893991 or email re­becca@macken­zie-david.co.uk

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